Really, Toll Brothers? Really!

Other
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
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Would you really want this as your backyard? (emptysquare/Flickr via Brownstoner)

Would you really want this as your backyard? (emptysquare/Flickr via Brownstoner)

When developers began proposing sizable developments for the shores of the Gowanus Canal a few years ago, at best it was viewed as yet another gonzo deal conceived of those frothy boom years. At worst, it was a bad joke. After all, this is the same body of water known to carry STDs. And so, when the federal EPA agreed to consider the contaminated body of water for Superfund status, that could only be a good thing, right? Read More

Back on the Map

Other
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
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Two versions of the MTA subway map found on the authority's website. One represents the Cortlandt Street R/W as closed with a gray dot. In another version, it appears to be in operation. (Courtesy MTA).

It may not have a marquee name attached to it, but work on the Cortlandt Street R/W subway station is another sign of the slow but increasingly steady progress at the World Trade Center site. Closed since 9/11, the heavily damaged station has stood as an eerie reminder of that day, visible to the thousands of riders that pass by it everyday as the trains creak and twist toward Rector Street. Read More

Shovels in the Ground

Other
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
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Aint She a Beaut: The $68 million reconstruction of an Interstate Overpass outside Portage, Michigan, was named the 2,000th stimulus project yesterday by President Obama.

Ain't She a Beaut: The $68 million reconstruction of an Interstate Overpass outside Portage, Michigan, was named the 2,000th stimulus project yesterday by President Obama.

Yesterday, President Obama made a visit to the Department of Transportation to applaud them and the rest of the nation for their work spending those stimulus dollars, marking the occasion of the 2,000th infrastructure project to be approved for Federal stimulus money. In his speech, the president joked that something unusual had happened at DOT and throughout the land: “We can utter a sentence rarely heard in recent years: This government effort is coming in ahead of schedule and under budget.” Read More

Koolhaas Flames Out, Shantytowns Inform

Other
Thursday, April 9, 2009
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(photo: Alicia Nijdam/flickr)

The announcement that Rem Koolhaas would be the keynote speaker for the “Ecological Urbanism” conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), which took place over three days last weekend, raised eyebrows, especially among sustainability-minded architects, landscape architects, and planners. Koolhaas had never shown any particular interest in the subject, and the fire at his TVCC Tower in Beijing was interpreted by many as a symbol of an era that had come to an end, ushering in more sustainable and responsible practices. Read More

Beyond Pruitt-Igoe

Other
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
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Jeff Hou, Stephanie Bailey, D.K. O-Assere, Nisha Botchwey, and Malo Andre Hutson served as panelist at the "Unspoken Borders" conference. (photos courtesy of PennDesign)

The University of Pennsylvania School of Design sought to bring social equity back into architectural discourse last weekend with a conference called “Unspoken Borders: The Ecologies of Inequality,” hosted by the Black Student Alliance. Architects have been skittish about addressing large-scale social issues ever since the profession’s notorious Pruitt-Igoe-style failures in the 1960’s, said presenter Craig Wilkins. Since then, he added, the predominant attitude among architects has been, “‘We’re not doing that again. They got mad at us the last time we did that!’” Read More

P!LA: SynthE-sizing Dinner

Other
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
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On Saturday, before we headed over to the Standard for my star turn on the media panel, Sam Lubell and I first swung by the Flat, home to celebrated LA restaurant Blue Velvet. We were there for an event hosted by colleague and co-panelist Alyssa Walker, part of her de Lab (design east of LaBrea) series. SCI-arc professor and hunk Alexis Rochas had installed easily the coolest green roof we’ve ever seen on top of the condo, and two dozen or so people had shown up for a tour, followed by a most-interesting lunch. Read More

Decor Out the Door

Other
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
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In addition to their scholarly and artistic value, many historic houses and period rooms are the rescues of the nascent preservation movement. On view since 1938 at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY), two 1880s Aesthetic Movement rooms from the Rockefeller Mansion on 54th Street are finding new homes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Virginia Commonwealth Museum. Read More

P!LA: By Car

Other
Sunday, April 5, 2009
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Downtown. (All photos Matt Chaban)

Downtown. (All photos Matt Chaban)

What better way to see LA than the way she was intended, by car. My colleague Sam Lubell was kind enough to chauffeur me around the city from time to time–when he wasn’t, the buses were surprisingly nice, far more so than in New York, I must admit. While Sam drove, I did my best to take a few pictures. Read More

P!LA: Oil, Oil-less, Fruit, Fruitless

Other
Sunday, April 5, 2009
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The party never stops at Postopolis. (All photos Matt Chaban)

The party never stops at Postopolis. (All photos Matt Chaban)

Unlike Thursday night, when inclement weather forced us inside, the party raged–or, well, spoke, Tweeted, and blogged–on the roof of the Standard on Friday night, which is as it should be at the start of the weekend, even if the party was almost over. Read More

P!LA: Beers With Benjamin Ball

Other
Sunday, April 5, 2009
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For the love of fries. (Mike L./Yelp)

For the love of fries. (Mike L./Yelp)

After Mike the Poet finished his set Thursday night, I found Benjamin Ball of Ball-Nogues Studio still in the crowd. He had been the second to last presenter, mostly talking about the firm’s work, and he was now taking compliments from admirers and shooting the breeze with friends. I, never not working, asked about the teepee in Woodstock he’d mentioned, though Ben was more interested in chatting me up about the paper, Venice, and my bowtie. Soon enough, a group of us found ourselves in the lobby, but the drinks being overpriced, we hit the street. Read More

P!LA: Painting Sound, Ben Ball, Vampires, & MMOs, Oh My!

Other
Saturday, April 4, 2009
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Welcome to LA. (All photos Matt Chaban)

Welcome to LA. (All photos Matt Chaban)

Though I already gave Mike the Poet pride of place, he was far from the only show in town Thursday night at Postopolis! LA. When I walked into the conference room–things had moved inside because the roof bar had been buffeted by a freezing wind all day–I saw a cluttered screenshot from World of Warcraft, something that had my inner-geek (aren’t we all?) terribly excited. Read More

P!LA: Putting the Urban into Planning

Other
Saturday, April 4, 2009
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Thursday night was my first at Postopolis! LA, and while I saw lots of cool presentations from cool people, I couldn’t help but start with the most unexpected, unusual, and exciting. Mike the Poet is a tour guide by day and a spoken word poet/rapper/genius by night. (Here‘s a nice profile from the LAT.) And while it’s true that discussions about gentrifying vampires and planning for World of Warcraft is cool, can you really top a dude rapping about urban density? Or SOM!

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